Steck Salathe 5.9

 
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Sentinel Rock


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Steck-Salathé photo TR, captions in 10 words or less
Tuesday June 22, 2010 4:49pm
Credit: le_bruce

I’ve thought about doing this climb since the summer of 2006, but never felt ready. Every time I thought I was, I’d check back in with some old friends, and remember that I wasn’t. The friends I'm talking about are Yo’s, Zander’s, and ElCapInYoAzz’s Steck-Salathe TRs on this very site.

These TRs are not exaggerated in the pictures they paint of how the casual climber might feel on the Steck-Salathe. I used them as a barometer: upon completion of reading, do I feel scared sitting here at my desk in my home? Are my hands clammy? Am I once again laughing a little too desperately at Yo’s line about grease and blood in the flare? Until late May of this year, the answer was always yes. Then came a soft “no” after a good repeat run up the NEB of HCR. So here goes:

5:30, I’m nervous leaving the car:




The falls are the valley’s loudest pre-dawn sound:


Video of sounds:


Approach for us was 2 hours:



The East Butt is a classic line:






Unless you’re a badass, don’t start here:



Ok, here we go! 7:30am:



There are eight spots in this photo where I’ve bivied:



9:30am, Scott reaching the belay before the Wilson:



Zander told me that the belay above the Wilson Overhang…



…was the place to bail or commit. We committed.



11:45, top of p5, bad ropedrag:



5.8+ OW, do not underestimate this bit:



Because, like Steck-Salathe in general, it’s hard:



1:57pm, North Dome spied from the tunnel through:



Scott, badass, about to tackle the pitch after the rap:



It was the hardest pitch on the route for me:



Same pitch, ST p9:



This was a great lead by Scott:



He requested it, to avoid the face pitch. Mistake.



The face pitch is cake comparably:



Scott contemplating the friction move to the hole:



Reaching the belay after the face, before the flare:



5pm, It’s getting late, smell of forced bivy in the air:



A lot has been written about this pitch.



Scott gave ‘er 100 minutes of hell:



IMO, its reputation is well deserved, especially for the leader:



7:01pm, at the Narrows ledge belay, darkest inner Sentinel behind Scott:



The Narrows start is more exposed than shown in pics:



Scott resting/psyching for his fourth big lead, The Narrows:



He’d already led the Wilson…



…the pitch after the rap, and the scary flare. Huge day.



Coming alive:



Who’s to say what lurks within the Sentinel?



Looking down from the Narrows belay ledge:



The exposure, brothers and sisters, is bigger than I’d imagined:



Chalking up for the Narrows entry moves:



7:54pm, Established. Scott ate this pitch up.



Instead of climbing by headlamp, we bivied at so so ledges above the Narrows. Bivying is kind of cool, if the wx doesn’t turn to hell.


Basking on top of the Sentinel the next morning. Looking west:



Looking north:



Looking east:



Scott on Sentinel’s weathered summit, with the moon:




This is where the photos end.


I’m going to open up the beta nozzle a little bit because other TR’s were really helpful to me and Scott in preparing mentally for this climb, and I want to kick into that stream of info. Purists turn back here.

Beta did not at all prepare me for the how hard this climb is, but I expected that. To the dedicated internet TR reader and Camp 4 story listener, the Steck-Salathe’s reputation is so legendary that it’s hard to underestimate it. But – for the average climbing Joe like me – the climb is such a beast that it’s hard to not underestimate it. There’s your conundrum.

My perceptions of the climb are probably heavily influenced by a scary fall with gear failure that I had at Sugarloaf this winter. “Scary fall with gear failure” sounds like “Still life with woodpecker.” I talk about that experience a little bit in this thread: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1190338&msg=1190465#msg1190465. So there’s the grain of salt you should take with any beta I’m giving. Here goes:

Approach: one piece of info that I didn’t have is that you want to exit the first ramp before it peters out into the steep wall. Keep an eye out right for an exposed path heading west. This is a short vid of that path, and gives a sense of its exposure:


These are ST’s pitches ->

P1+2: link and go fine. Belay at tree.
P3: One of maybe three easy’ish pitches on the day. Relish it.
P4: Lots already said on The Wilson. Full value for me – I pulled on a sling.
P5: I skipped the infamous squeeze by tension-traversing to the flake. I couldn’t unlock the ramp moves free. I also felt pretty gripped at the top of the flake without good gear below me, though others have had no problem finding gear in this flake. I set myself up for bad rope drag here.
P6: Looking at the topo, and at the features above us from the belay, we thought we had another easy pitch – not so, but not brutal.
P7: Another of the few easy pitches.
P8: Tunnel through and rap. Only challenge here is not to slow down to rest.
P9: Hardest pitch on the day for me, and I seconded it. Scott bartered to get this pitch, thinking he’d rather be plugged into a crack than sketched on open face. Oops! This pitch is easily twice as hard as the face pitch, even with the apples to oranges caveat. It reminded me of a much harder P1 Gripper. Maybe P1 Gripper x 1.5
P10: Lots of pro available, doesn’t have to be run except in a few spots. Falls could be worse for the second than the leader.
P11: Scott spent about 100 minutes on lead, in a proud display of piss, guts, vinegar, and muscle. He was mostly deep into the flare, where he could place pro and feel a bit more secure. The price to pay is that the climbing is much more physical inside. I pulled on a sling to get past the squeeze early on, and stayed to the outside for the rest of the pitch, and reached the belay in about 15 minutes.
P12: The Narrows was the only pitch that we may have overestimated. One warning – and Scott could describe this better than I could – is that your best bet after you exit the Narrows proper is to stay in the fat crack. Don’t be suckered into the featured face out climber’s left. This is the view from the belay where the Narrows begins: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGOsJpiqi50
P13: In exchange for Scott leading the Narrows (he’s a better climber than me), I’d signed up for leading the rest of the pitches to the top. But after a cold bivy, Scott wanted to get his system moving and opted to lead this one. He felt it was heady and serious at parts. Definite do not fall territory in places.
P14: The third easy’ish pitch on the climb.
P15: Some bad rock, precariously perched, both while climbing and at the mossy belay. Many options off the ledge mid-pitch, I took the far right and it was easy. Save a fist-sized piece for any of them.

Here’s how I’d rank the pitches that have some sort of aura about them from other TR’s, hardest at the top. Remember I pulled on a sling on the Wilson and in the pitch before the Narrows:

1. Pitch after rap
2. Flared chimney before Narrows
3. Wilson
4. Pitch after Wilson
5. Narrows
6. Face pitch

People ask about Steck-Salathe vs NEB of HCR. All of the pitches listed above, to me, were harder than anything the NEB had to offer.

I’d like to hear what others found to be the hardest pitch. Many people say it’s the cumulative effect of so much burl, and I think that’s right. But still, if you can remember which was the hardest moment of the day, I’d like to hear about it.

Edit to fix pics! And to say: we didn't carry approach shoes. Next time I will. YMMV.

  Trip Report Views: 6,747
le_bruce
About the Author

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jun 22, 2010 - 05:08pm PT
Thanks Bryce! I guess your face-o-philia and my wide-o-philia makes us a good team.

8 places I've bivied... love it!

I remember the bliss of fetal position on the ledge in the narrows like it was 5 minutes ago....

My pitch ranking from hardest to easier:
1. before Narrows
2. Wilson Overhang
3. squeeze or traverse to flake (your lead, I tensioned on traverse)
4. pitch after the raps (more serious run-out & hard than techie hard)
5. chimney after narrows pitch (to the 3-bolted station on the chockstone)
6. Narrows
7. The pure 5.8 OW that was wider than fist, sometimes get in a knee, no face holds to help

I decided I need to practice more wide chimney to get more comfortable with run-outs on this stuff. I led Reed's Direct (10a OW) last weekend, and thought it was pretty similar to stuff on Steck Salathe. The scary run-out wide chimney in the middle of the pitch as well as the well-protected techie crux up top. Transitioning from back/knee chimney to back/feet chimney and stemming, when way above gear, is still creepy for me.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jun 22, 2010 - 10:56pm PT
The best Trip Report of the year in my opinion. Real and intense without too much wordy prose. Halfway through your report I vowed never to do that climb. Great photos. Thanks for a break from color.

Best line of the week...."8 spots where I've bivied." A testament to a git er dun attitude and a fond pile of memories on the rope.

Excellent Adventure fellas.
Lissiehoya

climber
Saint Louis, MO
  Jun 23, 2010 - 12:59am PT
Proud job, and a hell of a fine TR.


-Dirka
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jun 23, 2010 - 03:08am PT
Great trip report, and fine job on a true classic testpiece.

John
Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer

Trad climber
  Jun 23, 2010 - 08:31am PT
Awesome trip report! Amazing photos as well. Thanks for sharing.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jun 23, 2010 - 11:20am PT
Great TR, the reason I come here.

35 years of climbing and I STILL haven't done that rig.

Better whip my sorry ass into shape a little.....
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jun 23, 2010 - 12:10pm PT
Great photo TR - thanks for sharing!
Zander

climber
  Jun 24, 2010 - 07:19am PT
Great, great TR. I love the black and white photos! Great job on the route.
Zander
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jun 24, 2010 - 03:02pm PT
hell of a good job of doing The Wyde With Pride!!
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Jun 24, 2010 - 03:08pm PT
Very cool stuff. The black/white pics are cool too.

Nice job!
phile

Trad climber
SF, CA
  Jun 24, 2010 - 09:21pm PT
NICE ONE.
em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
  Jun 24, 2010 - 11:38pm PT
w.o.W.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Jun 25, 2010 - 08:05am PT
Great photos! Brings it all back a zillion years since I did the thing.

Good job. This is one of the true old time Yo classics. Tons of history, and mungy enough to feel just like an alpine climb.

I do wonder if a caver like Pete would be willing to explore the depths of the chimney.
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
  Jun 27, 2010 - 09:01pm PT
That was the coolest TR I've read here all year. I'm sure to check it out a couple more times, too, ha, the TR that is. Congrats, you guy, way to climb, way to adventure sport!
crossman04

Trad climber
Ventura, CA
  Jun 29, 2010 - 11:50pm PT
Great TR. Went to try this route early in May but couldn't find correct approach and decided to bail after a couple hours of scrambling around super exposed, loose, sketchy rock. Still want to give this route a go. Good job!
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Jun 30, 2010 - 06:51am PT
You were right there;-)
murcy

Gym climber
sanfrancisco
  May 13, 2011 - 04:26pm PT
Missed this first time 'round. NICE!
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
  May 13, 2011 - 05:00pm PT
I think I missed this as well. Very good.
I'd bet that Scott's experience in Zander's simulator was worthwhile.
Barcus

Social climber
San Luis Obispo, Ca.
  May 13, 2011 - 05:17pm PT
Whoa!
This TR got me all pumped (sweaty palms, lil short of breath, some of that good old "sewing machine leg") and I'm jus sitting in a lazy boy!
Thank you for the trek!

Marcus
Evil too!
BriGuy

climber
black hills, south dakota
  May 15, 2011 - 10:08am PT
Awesome, love the B&W photos!
The Guy

Trad climber
Portland, OR
  May 15, 2011 - 11:03am PT
Nice! Always look forward to le-bruce trip reports. My daughter was looking at the pictures with me and i showed her the 2 Narrows pictures. She said"WOW the climbers there then only feet."
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  May 15, 2011 - 11:11am PT
Awesome job bruce, love the black and white!
nita

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
  May 15, 2011 - 11:14am PT
First time seeing this.

WOW, Beautiful Black and White pictures.... I love this trip report.
Thanks!...
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  May 15, 2011 - 11:33am PT
Beautiful photos. I love that view looking west.
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  May 15, 2011 - 11:48am PT
Sick TR!
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
  May 15, 2011 - 11:53am PT
First time seeing this as well..

Love the Narrows rest-up video..

"The part that concerns me the most about this Narrow's thing is the, getting my back on that side and my feet on there, if I can start walking up and that feels ok I think I'll be fine"




Strangely enough, I go through one of these dilemmas just about every morning.

Great TR!
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
  May 15, 2011 - 12:06pm PT
Wonderful B&W's, many thx....
MH2

climber
  May 15, 2011 - 01:53pm PT
An unusually direct and real TR that someone like me can unreservedly identify with. Room for musing, too. Great job!
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
  May 15, 2011 - 01:58pm PT
excellent! mega inspiring
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
  May 15, 2011 - 03:17pm PT
Must have missed this the first time around. Cool pics.

I'm surprised Scott had "chimney after narrows pitch (to the 3-bolted station on the chockstone)" on the harder pitches list. I thought this was one of the easiest pitches on the route...not much gear, but wide enough chimney that you could motor without a lot of effort, no squeezing or grunting
.
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
  May 15, 2011 - 05:33pm PT
I missed this first pass, too. Great TR!!!
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  May 16, 2011 - 12:26pm PT
With my memory, I get to enjoy it all over again like it's the first time! I was fairly wasted (even after a night of "rest"), which accounted for my hardness rating for pitch after Narrows. I thought we should be on cruise control and ready for easy 5th class to the top, and the little squeezes followed by run-out back to feet chimney had me on full alert. People in good shape won't rate this one too hard.

I've since brushed up a bit on back-to-feet chimneys (e.g. P3 Reed's Direct, and that unprotectable thing to the left of Pony Express at Sugarloaf). But I don't think I'll ever do it enough to stop being scared.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
  May 16, 2011 - 12:41pm PT
This is one of my new all-time favorite trip reports. Congratulations on getting it done!
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
  May 16, 2011 - 01:04pm PT
ECYA wrote:
I'm surprised Scott had "chimney after narrows pitch (to the 3-bolted station on the chockstone)" on the harder pitches list. I thought this was one of the easiest pitches on the route...not much gear, but wide enough chimney that you could motor without a lot of effort, no squeezing or grunting

It might well be a size thing...

This is what I wrote about that pitch in 1995:

I was cold by this time, and shivering as I started up the next pitch. The initial move was balancy and steep. I decided to stay with climbing in the dark, as opposed to trying to use the small mag light that we were all carrying. The moon was nearly full, but was shining on the other side of the valley from somewhere behind the Sentinel. A small bit of reflected glow helped a little as my eyes adjusted to the lack of light. I climbed the pitch, wondering how we get ourselves in such crazy situations, but at the same time very happy to be near the top of such a wonderful one-day accomplishment. My joy only lasted a little while.

I climbed through some easier broken ground and then squinted upwards to see the rope disappearing into a dark maw above. Another chimney?! Sh*t! Once in the chimney, my prospects were even more grim. My two partners, much smaller than I, had both climbed up the Chockstone Chimney, BEHIND the chockstone. That left me with no other option than to climb the same tight section, which appeared way too small in the dark from below. I squeezed up into the hole trying to just get through the section. I cursed and moaned my fate, and wished I was skinnier to no avail. In the end, I nearly gave up, but the desire to get off was too strong. I was able to do some sideways body jamming and slithering to get myself past the section. The only sound in between the spates of profanity, were the occasional grunts and the grating sound of my locking harness carabiners against the rock as I wrenched upwards in the dark. Finally, I cranked free of the last bottle-neck move and breathed deep, glad to be out of the clutches of Sentinel. The belay came soon after and I collapsed onto the chockstone, totally spent and sweating bullets from a gun that had long since emptied.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  May 16, 2011 - 01:22pm PT
Cool to see this bumped up - thanks for all the nice comments.

There's a proud tradition of writing Steck-Salathe TR's on this site, I was psyched to kick in. Who will throw one up this season?

Somebody get out there, send, and then write the next chapter!
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
  May 16, 2011 - 06:59pm PT
le_bruce, great report, I missed last june as many others - [june is bad time for reading ST] -thanks for bump.
The rout looks amazing with those black and white photos .
It was interesting to read description of the pitches and rank of them in turn of hardness.
Probably everybody have put them in different order, here is mine best and hardest 6 pitches in order:
1. 5.9 flare above Wilson (if you climb it direct, no 5.8 bypass)
2. Pitch before Narrows
3. Wilson
4. Slab
5. Narrows
6. Pitch below slab, 5.9ow
susu

Trad climber
East Bay, CA
  May 16, 2011 - 06:08pm PT
This is a great TR even tho it stirs up doubt in my desire to ever try what look like beautiful pitches! I also missed it the first time around, and the link to a thread questioning trust in gear - topical with a number of posts lately about gear pulling. TFPU!

Also enjoying the black and white photos fitting for the classic!
Danholio

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
  May 16, 2011 - 10:56pm PT
Intimidated as all hell but newly inspired to try it. Thanks for sharing! Awesome photos.
Mr_T

Trad climber
Northern California
  May 20, 2011 - 11:14am PT
Bump for the great photos! Really shows the wide mid-pitches just above the rap.
J. Werlin

Social climber
Cedaredge, CO
  May 20, 2011 - 11:14am PT
Glad this one was bumped -- 5 star TR. The B & W photos really added a classic Ansel Adams feel to the report. Many thanks, good send!
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Canada
  Aug 26, 2011 - 02:23pm PT
Black and white bump for full Steck - Salathe colonic !
O.D.

Trad climber
LA LA Land
  Aug 26, 2011 - 03:19pm PT
Absolutely stellar! This is what it's all about!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Mar 14, 2012 - 10:06pm PT
Right on le_bruce I really appreciate you taking the time to write this. You put up a lot of good climbing related stuff. Thanks
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Jul 11, 2012 - 09:41am PT
Just wanted to jump in here with a quick epilogue: went back and did the SS again one year later, and had a completely different experience of the route.

Never had that low-level hum of doom in the back of my head the second time up, as I did pretty much straight through the first run. And that alone made a big difference for me. What a contrast between climbing a route like this on-site vs climbing it when you know exactly what's coming on each pitch.

The second time through, I also had a different opinion of what was hardest:

1. Still thought the pitch after the rap was the crux pitch
2. Flare pre-Narrows

And that's it. Everything else felt pretty solid this time. One of those days where you feel you could hang a dump truck off your harness and be fine, b/c each jam, lock, bar, wing, or heel-toe just feels that good. Time on route was much lower, too - yeah we climbed a little faster, but the biggest difference was not having that fear gnawing on us, thus no hemming and hawing at belays, over pro-ing, etc. I think we were on top by about 4p.
David Wilson

climber
CA
  Jul 11, 2012 - 11:12am PT
Bryce, that;s the first pitch we did, one of the "5.8 that is 5.9" pitches. I guess next time over to the right more is the way to go. Nice TR !
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Jul 11, 2012 - 01:09pm PT
Yeah David, no less than four ST'ers have emailed me about that p1 photo, asking about the start we did. In fact, one of those emailers ended up being my partner for the second run (CA Dreamin', great dude).
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
  Jul 11, 2012 - 06:46pm PT
Great report...brings back memories; the SS is one of my favorite climbs ever anywhere, but it is now forty-two years since the second of my two ascents. Some photographic jogging of failing synapses is most welcome, especially your excellent black and white shots, which have, for me, the built-in quality of distant recollections.

Back when we did it, nuts were just starting to happen, cams didn't exist yet, at least not for the general public, sticky rubber had yet to appear, ropes were tied to swami belts, and painter's pants were the uniform de jour.

The route went up a short A3 section of the headwall rather than rapping and free-climbing the chimney from lower down, and the Wilson Overhang was in its original 5.8 state.

I think maybe at the time Roper had downgraded the entire route to 5.8, but Pratt took us aside and, in a fatherly way, explained that we would probably find some 5.9 up there.

Which we did.

The A3 part, if that's what it was---we had no idea how to grade aid---consisted of hanging hero loops on a series of small flexible flakes (no way you'd drive a piton behind any of them) and trying not to apply any outward loads to them.
ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
  Jul 11, 2012 - 08:24pm PT
hadn't seen this until now, very nice TR, very distinctive
ImplicitD

Trad climber
Boise
  Jul 12, 2012 - 08:37pm PT
I did this in 98.

I only fell once on that route, on the 5.6 pitch above the narrows. The burl got to me. I took a ten footer and then got all pridefull and finished the pitch. I remember sitting on a ledge at the end of the pitch unable to work the gear to build a belay.

We finished the climb.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Jul 12, 2012 - 09:08pm PT
Loved the B&W's!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 14, 2013 - 05:47pm PT
Another postscript, did the SS again this season, a third time, and came up with a different take on which pitches were hardest.

1. Yo's Flare
2. Pitch after rap
3. First pitch (dark horse, took me by surprise this time)

Still a big day, still the real deal, but finally this time it never felt harder than enjoyable 5.9/5.10-, and never mean. Even the flare felt reasonable.

The onsite day of the SS is the best day of the SS, for a million reasons, but at the same time it has just gotten better with each go. Hope to get it again this season, and have put it on the "year-in, year-out" list with the NEB, Serenity/Sons...









Crux move on the face pitch, most insecure move of the climb:





We come for the views

Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
  Aug 9, 2013 - 03:02pm PT
Nice postscript. I kinda wanna go do it again. Maybe in another 5 or 10 years, the dancecard is pretty full and free time pretty short these days.

Such a classic. Any aspiring valley climber should have this on their list.
WanderlustMD

Trad climber
New England
  Aug 9, 2013 - 08:03pm PT
Next you have to solo the thing :)
mdanek

Trad climber
California
  Aug 13, 2013 - 06:13pm PT
A few comments:
 Rack: BD C4 - doubles to #2, single #3, double #4, single #5; BD C3 single; small nuts. Two #4s are useful on several pitches (mainly 5.8+ OW pitch, the pitch after the rap, the Narrows). #5 protects the flare chimney below the Narrows before clipping the 1st bolt and also the final OW on the Narrows pitch (#4 would probably work too).
 Approach: Can be confusing in dark. When traversing after the 1st ramp, go to the big tree to the right and stay more or less horizontal till you get to the 2nd ramp. There is a faint trail on the grassy face, hidden by manzanita at places. If you get to a big tree with rap sling, you got to high.
 Narrows exit: The 5.7 rating is a joke – the moves are pretty technical and committing, far away from the last pro inside of the chimney. There is a fixed clip (pin?) and some gear higher on the wall. The final moves in the OW flare can be protected with #5. The final section of the Narrows felt more like 5.10.
 Total time: Did SS twice (9hrs and 11hrs) – the 1st half of the climb (start of the pitch after rap) took us about 1/3 of the total time. The second half goes slower without noticing (harder, fatigue factor?).
 Climbed in July with the Valley temp ~100F; yet climbing was pleasant in shade most of the day.

Great route – want to keep it as a birthday present for myself.
CA Dreamin'

climber
  Aug 13, 2013 - 09:33pm PT
le_bruce, you stud! You're tugging at the heart strings and bringing back many fond memories of our time up there. Way to get after it Amigo! Keep up the good work.
-AP
mongrel

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
  Aug 13, 2013 - 09:40pm PT
le_bruce, if you're going to keep doing this great, great route over and over again, one of these times you just have to go outside at the Narrows. Very exposed and exciting, reasonable climbing (5.9, maybe 10a to clear the overhang). Excellent TR.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
  Aug 13, 2013 - 09:52pm PT
I don't know how I missed this the first time, but your photos were amazing, and the sparse prose was so strong. I especially loved the feel of your "pre-dawn" images of the view, the gag about the # of bivis from in the pic, and the shots of both the narrows exposure & Scott's feet poking through as he disappears above. Really nice share! Thank you.
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose and south lake tahoe, ca
  Aug 14, 2013 - 04:51pm PT
This is rad! (Sent from inside my tent while waiting out a storm haha)
Ian Jewell

climber
  Aug 14, 2013 - 05:24pm PT
i concur , many of those B & W photos are FANTASTIC.

SS is one of my favorite routes all time , views from high up on sentinel are great and you captured them wonderfully

best view of upper & lower falls hands down , up high on sentinel
martygarrison

Trad climber
Washington DC
  Aug 14, 2013 - 05:34pm PT
Thanks for the TR. I really enjoyed the BW pics.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 14, 2013 - 06:28pm PT
Thanks, all. Appreciate those nice comments.

CA Dreamin' - In Chamonix right now? Let me know any time you want to do the SS again bud. I think that Alexey just did his 6th ascent of it this season, or 7th? Never seems to get old, even to people with that kind of pedigree on Valley wide.

mongrel - I don't know, dude, that bit outside of the narrows looks pretty wild. I traversed over this time and peered down. The look on my face slowly shifted from a smile to a grimace just thinking about leading it...

Side note: on this third ascent, the partner who came with me didn't have much experience on wider/chimney stuff, in fact had completely flamed out on the Sacherer Cracker finish earlier this season and hadn't touched anything wide'ish since. But he killed it on this day. Classic case of strength and burl more than making up for technique. By the time we hit the last pitch he pretty much had it all down to a science...
BBA

climber
OF
  Aug 14, 2013 - 08:13pm PT
Love the black and white photos. Oh to be young again... The Wilson overhang looks as bad as ever - glad it wasn't my lead BITD. Great trip report.
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
  Dec 17, 2013 - 07:40am PT
"Low-level hum of doom" bump.
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Sentinel Rock - Steck Salathe 5.9 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The long and demanding Steck-Salathe.
Photo: Randy Spurrier
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